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Features Health & Wellness Local physician completes relay run

Pictured are (seated, L-R), Dr. Randall Provost, Wilson Thao, Greylin Cleary, Matthew Wronsky, Dylan Rubinic; (standing, first row)Jennie Longo, Dalton Greer, Joshuah Edwards; (back row) Luke Miller, Zachary Hartman, Jill Manners, Christine Poole, Dr. Rob Dingle, Dr. Jay Scifers, and Daniel Carr. Not pictured, Elena D'Argenio and Clark Edwards.Runs in support of athletic training program and promoting fitness for general health

Dr. Randall Provost of Sylva Medical Center, who supervises Western Carolina University athletic training students as they complete clinical education requirements, recently participated in the “Mountain Jug Run for Research,” a 175-mile relay from Cullowhee to Boone to raise money for athletic training research and scholarships.

Named after the well-known football rivalry between WCU and Appalachian State University, the relay takes place primarily along the Blue Ridge Parkway, with runners completing five-mile stretches five different times along the course. The annual event has brought in more than $17,000 over the last six years, which go directly to the National Athletic Trainers' Association's Research and Education Foundation which awards research grants and academic scholarships to the fields of athletic training and sports medicine.

Dr. Provost, who practices internal medicine in the primary care setting, participated in the run for several different reasons. “I believe that ‘Exercise is Medicine,’ a belief long held by the American College of Sports Medicine. Because of the substantial health benefits of exercise, anyone can benefit from an increase in physical activity that is appropriate for their age and circumstances,” he said.

Medical research shows a trend indicating that physical inactivity and obesity in our culture could result in a shorter lifespan, with much of the weight gain and lack of physical activity due to the sedentary nature of many modern jobs.

“Some studies show that inactivity and obesity-related illnesses account for around $200 billion of annual medical costs in our nation,” said Dr. Provost. “It is my belief that this amount can be reduced by promoting lifestyle changes in the healthcare setting. The Jug Run’s unique concept of promoting fitness in students while doing a service activity is inspiring in the larger sense of the public health impact of poor fitness.”

Dr. Provost encourages patients to utilize local resources such as fitness centers, walking trails, and support programs to gain a greater level of physical fitness.

“Not only do depression and anxiety respond to exercise, but it is protective against dementia, promotes healthier cholesterol levels, and the risk of diabetes is lessened in patients who are fit, plus countless other benefits,” he said.

18 people participated in the Jug Run, including James Scifers who is the originator of the relay and a professor of athletic training at WCU, which began in early morning hours in Cullowhee on Friday, Oct. 11. The group finished the 175-mile trek in Boone the morning of Saturday, Oct. 12, running overnight and achieving a record time of 27 hours and 25 minutes.


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